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Serie A | Gameweek 38
May 26, 2024 at 7.45pm UK
Stadio Carlo Castellani

2 - 1

Cancellieri (13'), Niang (90+3')
Gyasi (2'), Destro (34'), Marin (81'), Niang (90')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Aouar (45+1')
Costa (90')

Preview: Empoli vs. Roma - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Empoli vs. Roma - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Empoli and Roma, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

With only a win guaranteed to preserve their Serie A status, Empoli host Roma in Sunday's season finale.

After being denied victory deep into stoppage time last week, the Tuscan club must now take maximum points to make sure of staying up; their visitors, meanwhile, are bound for a sixth-place finish.

Match preview

Both Sassuolo and Salernitana have already dropped through the trapdoor into Serie B, but one more team will join them this weekend, as the race to avoid relegation reaches its climax.

When M'Baye Niang put Empoli in front with a penalty after 90 minutes of last week's game against fellow strugglers Udinese, fans of the Azzurri could have been forgiven for thinking their side had sealed survival; however, Lazar Samardzic then converted a last-gasp spot kick at the other end and both teams' fate was left in the balance.

As a result, Empoli will now be relegated if they lose, and a draw may only be enough to take them into a possible playoff, so beating Roma is their only target at Stadio Carlo Castellani.

Although Davide Nicola's men are one point shy of safety heading into the final day, winning will guarantee they stay up due to the two teams directly above them - Frosinone and Udinese - facing each other at the same time on Sunday evening.

A renowned escapologist, Nicola has previously saved clubs such as Crotone, Genoa and Salernitana from demotion, but his current side could pay the price for scoring the fewest goals in Serie A this season (27) - in fact, only Cadiz and Clermont have posted lower tallies throughout Europe's top 10 European leagues.

Failing to find the net against Roma could see Empoli pay the ultimate price and drop back down to Serie B; yet victory would see them secure a third straight top-flight season for the first time in their history.

Having thumped Sunday's hosts 7-0 in September and last lost at the Castellani back in 2007, Roma will expect to continue their dominance over Empoli in the final fixture of an eventful campaign.

The capital club are seeking a ninth successive Serie A win over the Azzurri, but whatever the result this weekend, their Champions League fate is now out of their own hands.

Though Romelu Lukaku scored soon after Leandro Paredes was sent off in last week's 1-0 defeat of Genoa, the Giallorossi are already confirmed in sixth place due to their head-to-head records against Atalanta BC and old foes Lazio, who sit either side of them in the standings.

If Europa League winners Atalanta now finish fifth - by taking fewer than three points from their last two games - Italy will be awarded another seat at Europe's top table, allowing Roma to make a cherished Champions League return.

Despite ditching Jose Mourinho for club hero Daniele De Rossi in mid-season, they have essentially produced the same result, ending up sixth three years on the spin for the very first time; furthermore, Roma have 63 points on the board so far - the same total they finished on in both of the past two years.

For the sake of symbolism, if nothing else, De Rossi will want to surpass that tally as he looks forward to fulfilling his new three-year contract in the 'Eternal City'. Then, it is simply a case of hoping Atalanta fail to overtake Bologna.

Empoli Serie A form:

Roma Serie A form:

Roma form (all competitions):

Team News

Empoli boss Davide Nicola is without Alberto Cerri, who has suffered a thigh injury, so spot-kick specialist M'Baye Niang should start up front in Sunday's crucial contest - though veteran striker Francesco Caputo may also be considered for his penalty-box nous.

Full-back Tyronne Ebuehi is the Azzurri's only other injury absentee, but Alberto Grassi has been banned for three games due to his dismissal for threatening behaviour towards the referee when Udinese equalised with a late penalty last weekend.

Meanwhile, Roma will be without Leandro Paredes for similar reasons, as the Argentinian midfielder was handed a two-match suspension after insulting the officials in the Giallorossi's win over Genoa.

On-loan striker Romelu Lukaku must miss out due to yellow card accumulation, so Tammy Abraham could be handed a rare start alongside Paulo Dybala in attack.

The latter has been directly involved in six goals from three Serie A appearances against Empoli since moving to Rome, and only Capocannoniere leader Lautaro Martinez has played a part in more goals than Dybala (22) this season.

Linked with an exit during the summer transfer window, Leonardo Spinazzola may have already played his last game for Roma, due to a flexor injury.

Empoli possible starting lineup:
Caprile; Bereszynski, Ismajli, Luperto; Gyasi, Maleh, Marin, Bastoni, Pezzella; Cambiaghi, Niang

Roma possible starting lineup:
Svilar; Celik, Mancini, Ndicka, Angelino; Bove, Cristante, Pellegrini; Dybala, Abraham, El Shaarawy

We say: Empoli 1-1 Roma

While Empoli's need for three points is far greater, it is hard to envisage the home side scoring more than once, given their woeful track record in front of goal.

Roma have little to play for and may settle for a draw, but whether that proves enough to save their hosts' skins remains to be seen.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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